St Barts Getting Ready for Season!! – November Trip Report
Lisa and I recently returned from a trip to St. Barts to make sure we’re aware of everything going on in preparation for the upcoming season. We have always traveled to St. Barts by going through St. Marteen. However, for this trip, we decided we needed to experience going through San Juan and using Tradewind Aviation. All I can say is “Wow!” Tradewind offers a first class experience all around. The Pilatus cabin comfortably seats 8 in executive style leather seats. It is the easiest 1 hour trip in a small plane we have ever taken. One of the biggest reasons to consider Tradewind the next time you travel to St. Barts is clearing customs. Because San Juan is a US territory, the only place you may have to clear customs is when you arrive in St. Barts (depending on if the customs booth is manned at the time of your arrival). When its time to go home, clearing US customs in San Juan is a breeze and Tradewind personnel will escort you through the entire process. That’s it. You are done!! No more clearing customs when you land back in the United States. To Lisa and I, this was a big advantage to not have to clear customs once in St. Marteen, and then again when we landed in Charlotte, Atlanta, or Miami.
There is nothing like the feeling of being back in St. Barts (even though Lisa had just been there in July touring villas). For this trip, we stayed in the hills of Lurin in Villa Vague Bleue. This is a great 3 bedroom villa with modern furnishings, an infinity pool, a hot tub, and beautiful sunsets over the ocean. Vague Bleue is conveniently located just above Gustavia for quick access to town and all the restaurants. A wonderful villa for 3 couples looking to spend a week in paradise.
We spent a couple of days touring villas and got into some villas that had done some work over the offseason – like Cocoland (Pointe Milou) and Chambord (Petit Cul de Sac). It was good to see many owners working hard to get their villas in perfect condition for the upcoming season. We were also able to get into some villas we had never seen before – Like Vue de Reve – high in the hills of St. Jean. Lisa and I really liked this villa based on its price point, great layout, but mostly because of its spectacular views. Below is a photo taken from the terrace overlooking St. Jean bay.
We were there at the end of October/beginning of November so some of the restaurants were not yet open, but we had plenty of options to satisfy our culinary desires. One night we had a great meal at On the Rocks (Eden Rock Hotel). We started by sharing the lobster Tacos which were unbelievable! I had the grilled Mahi and Lisa had the salmon. Both were prepared to perfection and it was a wonderful evening overlooking St. Jean bay. (I forgot the camera back at the villa so unfortunately I do not have any pictures to share.) We spent Halloween night at The Hideaway. Andy was in full costume and had the karaoke going in full force. There was a lot of bad singing but everyone had a wonderful night singing 80s songs at the top of their lungs.
St Barth Exclusives’ Inside Tip: Tipping in St Barts
We get a lot of questions about the local practice when it comes to tipping your server at a restaurant. In St. Barts, the “service” is included in the price of the meal – so a tip is not technically required. However, if you have received good service, most people will leave a small amount 5-10% as a gratuity (un pourboire). Be prepared to bring a few euros to dinner for the tip. Most of the restaurants will run your credit card at the table with a small hand-held device. Unlike here in the United States, the receipt does not provide a place to leave a tip as that is not the custom on the island. Tips are usually left in cash on the table or given directly to the server when settling the bill.
Hope you are having a great week! We hope to speak with you soon.